Irresistibly vegan, or just some lame-ass squares?

SuperVegan, a Web site and blog devoted mostly to informing readers about vegan restaurants in New York City, spotlighted Asheville after it was voted most vegetarian-friendly small city by GoVeg.com.

Food critic and blogger Laura Leslie dined at downtown Asheville’s the Laughing Seed, Rosetta’s Kitchen and Early Girl Eatery before turning up her nose up and concluding that she’s glad to be a spoiled New York City vegan.

While she did have praise for the Laughing Seed (it “totally rocked,” she wrote), she was less-than-impressed with the peanut-butter tofu at Rosetta’s. “Damn those hippies and their tofu cubes; I didn’t know anyone out there still ate like this,” she laments. “Nothing makes up for those lame-ass tofu cubes.” Nor was she pleased that the Early Girl doesn’t crumble the soybean curd in their tofu breakfast scramble, and wondered “on what planet does this count as scrambled?”

Does the critique signify a blow to Asheville’s vegetarian-friendly reputation? Or shall we just shrug it off and wonder, “On what planet would we actually care what some spoiled NYC vegan writes in her lame-ass restaurant review?”

— Rebecca Bowe, contributing editor

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33 thoughts on “Irresistibly vegan, or just some lame-ass squares?

  1. Manechevitz

    She took the soy cubes right out of my mouth! Those cubes are lame…also the actual portions of vegetables at most of these places are surprisingly miniscule.

  2. Johnny D. Grin

    Other than lame-asses, does anyone care about lame-ducks?

    Let us make it simple:
    1)Meat is GOOD: Human beings’s teeth are designed to tear and chew it up in order to facilitate its digestion and provide us with indispensable nutrients and incomparable pleasure.
    2)Adulteration within its industrial processing, and excess of consumption is BAD.

    Finally, what’s wrong with New Yorkers?

  3. I’m anti the huge tofu cubes as well. When I make a tofu scramble, I cut the tofu up into really small cubes and saute it before mixing in eggs, chopped onions and green peppers. Then I top the scramble off with mozzarella. Not vegan, but a good way to get your soy.

  4. Orbit DVD

    Has anyone ever tried Hufo, the tofu that tastes like human flesh?

    marc

  5. Dionysis

    I’m not too savvy about vegan dishes, but I can state emphatically that if I were served a dish of square tofu chunks such as in the picture, I’d probably pay my bill, leave the ‘meal’ and not return. Tofu is not bad if prepared properly with other ingredients, but serving big chunks of it such as described here is hardly appetizing.

  6. tatuaje

    “On what planet would we actually care what some spoiled NYC vegan writes in her lame-ass restaurant review?” Rosetta’s is a great restaurant…On any given day, the peanut butter tofu will be the most amazing thing you’ve put in your mouth.Yes, their peanut butter baked tofu suffers from lack of consistancy and if not fresh can feel like chewing on rubber, but is that the only thing this so called “critic” tried? None of the great sandwiches? She had nothing to say about the Korean Barbecue Tempeh? All of the amazing baked goods? She did write “On the plus side, the portions were huge, and their mac and cheese was quite good. But nothing makes up for those lame-ass tofu cubes.” She’s gonna rip on cubed tofu, yet Mac & Cheese is somehow more dignified or something? At least there’s some people standing up for the place in the comment section of her blog…I’ve lived lots of other places (never NYC) and let me say, finding good vegetarian food is never easy. But Rosetta’s is, and has been since the beginning, one of my favorites. And it doesn’t empty my wallet like the Laughing Seed.

  7. Rob Close

    the chili-cheese fries! i gotta go in once a week to get them from rosetta’s – truly my favorite restaurant, since they always have something there i’m in the mood for. i’ve lived most of my life in north-eastern cities – and nothing beats the selection we get down here, especially on rosetta’s menu.

    but the tofu is cut too big. so i don’t ever order it. though it is tasty and i’ll always eat one if a friend orders it.

  8. Nam Vet

    I am so grateful that this yankee effete snob dissed Asheville’s vegetarian restaurants. Now maybe more kooky NYC denizens will stay UP THERE. :)

  9. bluegrassbrad

    “On what planet would we actually care what some spoiled NYC vegan writes in her lame-ass restaurant review”

    I’ll go with this answer.

  10. john

    My friend’s wife, who is a vegetarian, makes him (he isnt a veggie) mock tofu every now and then. It’s great! She cuts blocks of chicken or turkey into squares and cooks it with vegetables. It tastes just like Tofu!

  11. Alli Marshall

    I think its great that there are now enough vegetarian restaurants to warrant vegetarian critics. Personally, I think PB tofu (and pasta primavera, for that matter) is the happy meal of veggie dining, but even a snarky review of Asheville’s vegetarian restaurants lets foodies know we’re on the map and making stabs toward great veggie cuisine.

  12. Dude, Rosetta’s is awful. I always end up getting dragged there by drunk people late at night, and I always regret it.

  13. Johnnny D. Grin

    I am afraid you hit the writer.. -oops, I meant “the nail”- right on the head Nam -Beg your pardon for the lapse.

  14. Newbie

    My wife and I just moved here from NYC almost one year ago. Although this critic probably had some rational thoughts (tofu cubes are basic), I assure you vegan food is far better when eaten in a clean, relaxed environment where you can hear yourself think. Even the best food in Manhattan is accompanied by a horrendously overpriced bill, snooty service, and a “back to the grime” reality once you leave a restaurant. Also, the greenies in Brooklyn are especially self-righteous and “too cool for school” anyway. They want to believe they are living on the cutting-edge of human culture, yet they are clearly suffering from jealousy of those who are truly living a more simple life.

    Anyway, I digress. My point is: forget the lame blogger. Who is she anyway? Another tongue in the world … actually, in dirtier, more crowded, more expensive, louder, no-peace-of-mind NYC.

  15. Nam Vet

    I have eaten at Rosetta’s many times. It is a little “funky” and sometimes the staff has a less than enthusiatic customer-focused attitude, but I have always enjoyed the food. My favorite is the Pad Thai with tofu. :) Try it. It is truly heavenly.

  16. Bill in Santa Cruz

    I lived in Asheville for 5 years, and one of the lasting memories is of all the great restaurants that serve veggie dishes. Rosetta’s was always a reliable place to get good nutritious food at low prices. Laughing Seed was pricey but always good. And Salsa’s? Mmmmmm …

  17. Nam Vet

    Newbie, your post about NYC is so right on. I have visited there several times and agree with you in spades.

    When you consider all the positives of Asheville, I cannot think of anywhere I’d rather live than my own hometown. American by birth, Ashevillian by the grace of God!

  18. Veganne

    My god, are you all that caught up in a restaurant review of some Asheville restaurants by a New Yorker who happened to visit your precious city? Wow, seems that you might all be a little bored perhaps?
    Doesn’t your paper run restaurant reviews? This cannot be a new experience for you all…can it?
    Look, crappy tofu cubes need to be called out, wherever they’re served. Whoever does is helping, not harming!

  19. I think we’re all losing focus on an important point here: SuperVegan really liked the Bier Garden because they offered free games of “Guitar Hero III.” This is exactly the deep, cosmopolitan enlightenment I would expect from our cultural betters in Gotham.

    (Suggestion: Free rounds of “Rock Band” at Rosetta’s. They’ll get the A+ before you know it!)

  20. Gourmet Grrl

    I am glad we are on the foodie map.
    I am also glad Rosetta’s got called out for serving lame tofu cubes. I don’t like to pay for college dorm hotplate food either.
    I thought she portrayed Asheville’s food scene pretty accurately: Noteworthy, but with plenty of room for improvement.
    I agree with Shades about Rosetta’s, except for two things: Smashed potatoes with veggie gravy, and the DJ has declared Rosetta’s fresh cut fries some of the best around.
    Plus, the drunk late night people must end up somewhere before driving home, and I feel a 3am ginger beer always hits the spot.
    A side note: The only thing I like to eat at Laughing Seed is the Fireside Focaccia Melt, which they serve only in winter or something.

    I also pose this question: Do two vegetarian restaurants in town a veggie-friendly reputation make?
    As usual, I’d rather see more options before we get all proud of ourselves.

    http://www.shewhoeats.wordpress.com

  21. Nam Vet

    We do have more than just 2 vegetarian restaurants, if you include Greenlife and the two Earthfare’s. Granted they also serve dead animal body parts, but a majority of their fare is vegetarian, and usually organic at that. I love the cold deli case at Greenlife. And I love the hotbar at both Earthfares.

    Also, many of our restaurants offer good vegetarian items on their menus. Early Girl has the best pimento grilled cheese sandwiches I have ever had. Mela’s has a wide variety of wonderful vegetarian Indian cuisine choices. Same with India Garden. Mamacita’s has a wonderful vegetarian bean burrito and quesadillas. All of the Italian restaurants serve good vegetarian pasta dishes. My favs being eggplant parmesan, vegetarian lasanga, penne pasta with EVO-garlic-herbs, pasta primavera. Middle Eastern and Greek restaurants have hummus and pita bread along with other choices.

    I have been a lacto vegetarian for 35 years and can always find vegetarian fare in certain cuisine genres, like the one’s listed about. You have a harder time at Denny’s, etc, but even Subway gives a good veggie sub when you are on the road.

    One more point. Greenlife produce is either all organic or a very high percentage when they do not. And a lot of it is local. This is unprecedented and special indeed. I doubt the NYC vegan snobs can match this.

  22. Jay Fox

    I think Little Miss NYC had a bit of a snooty preconception about what she was getting into. IT’S ASHEVILLE. Most of the freakin’ restaurants here are bus your own table! Ya can’t get much more hippie-fied than Rosetta’s. Seriously.

    I do wish Asheville had more strictly Vegetarian/Vegan restaurants though. My wallet can only handle so much Laughing Seed (sooo glad they’re on the WNC card now!) and Rosetta’s is nice, but it’s not exactly a classy dinner joint (no offense – I love the place to pieces!)

  23. yummy

    For years I lived in Asheville 6 months of the year and out in the “progressive west” 6 months of the year. My mouth watered the entire 6 months for some of those “crappy tofu cubes”. I would actually speed up to get here before they closed (How cool that we can get veggie food at late night hours).
    At least “crappy tofu cubes” don’t emit crap like your disgusting meat. This crap, in the form of methane is contributing to Global Warming and so is the plane ride for the appropriate named “critic”.

    Lay off, who cares what the Yankee thinks.
    I agree with a blogger earlier, hopefully we can deter some of these folks from coming down here and ruining our wonderful city anymore than they already have.

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